Srinagar, Apr 4: The uncertain situation in Kashmir has once again put the question mark over the revival of tourism industry in the strife torn Valley.
Sources told Precious Kashmir that 20 persons, including 13 militants, 4 civilians and three soldiers, getting killed in one day in three gunfights has created a scare among the tourists. “Many tourists were present in Kashmir on Sunday (when the gunfights in south Kashmir took place) but as the word about killings spread large number of tourists packed their bags and left,” they added.
A tour operator said, “We have many bookings for the coming months but we are not sure whether the tourists would come or not. Media has developed a habit of blowing issues related to Kashmir out of proportion and this has proved to be a big stumbling block for the revival of tourism industry in the Valley.”
He said that recent gunfights in Shopian and the killings could prove to be a “big blow” for the forthcoming tourist season. “We have kept are fingers crossed and are hoping that summer would pass off peacefully,” the tour operator added.
It’s in place to mention here that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti while chairing a security review meeting in Srinagar asked the top security brass to work collectively to ensure a peaceful summer ahead.
She told the top officials that bullets should be avoided in the first place and modern means of crowd control must be employed to quell the protestors.
An analyst said, “Peace is must for tourists to return. No sane person would like to visit a place where uncertainty prevails. It’s not fair to blame the state government for the decline in number of tourists visiting the Valley.”
He said, “Peace and arrival of tourists is interlinked. We cannot expect people to enjoy when there is gloom everywhere. Having scenic beauty and natural resources is not the only criteria which attracts people towards Kashmir.”
The analyst said that New Delhi should pay a heed towards the “peace appeals” being made by the Kashmiri leaders, including the Chief Minister. “People sitting in New Delhi should go through the records whenever the relations between India and Pakistan have been cordial Kashmir has remained peaceful and situation has remained under control.”
A Congress leader said, “When our party was in the power at the Centre we never ignored Pakistan and kept them engaged. We always tried our best to end the hostilities and ensured that we take everyone along. The BJP led government at the Centre has reversed the entire process and people of Kashmir are facing the brunt of their policies.”
The Congress leader claimed that the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and other PDP leaders know it very well that talks are the only way out and they are trying their best to convey it to New Delhi. “Until peace remains elusive situation won’t change,” he added.